CCPO director gets flak for tweet

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


A LABOR Day activity photo uploaded by Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) on the social media site Twitter earned Senior Supt. Noli Romana a warning.

The photo collage showed the CCPO director wearing a neon green shirt and black shorts while the other police personnel wore the PNP sports uniform blue T-shirt with “PULIS” printed on the front and dark blue shorts. Romana and the other members of the force participated in a fun run organized by the Cebu City Government on May 1.

Meanwhile, the initial results of a revalidation ordered by Romana reveal that 511 crimes have been allegedly left out in the first quarter 2013 crime statistics.

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As this developed, the Cebu City Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC) yesterday asked the CCPO to submit a detailed crime analysis report.

Romana received criticism for previously released crime statistics showing an increase of more than 20 percent in crime incidence in Cebu City. The CCPO director, who assumed the post on Aug. 2 last year, got more flak for failing to wear the PNP uniform during the Labor Day fun run.

Senior Supt. Orlando Ualat, officer-in-charge of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7, yesterday said Romana did not comply with the PNP’s “Tamang Bihis” policy.

Discipline

“It’s part of imposing discipline, not only on erring commanders but also our personnel,” he told reporters.

The PRO 7 Public Information Office showed Sun.Star Cebu a screenshot of the CCPO Police Community Relations tweet with the photo collage.

Ualat said the police have a set of uniforms for specific activities. He added that as
CCPO director, Romana should set the right example for the force.

Ualat revealed it was Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo, chief of the PNP directorial staff, who notified him about the picture.

“They probably saw it because we submit our activities through Twitter daily,” Ualat said.

Relief

When he was PRO 7 director, Garbo ordered the relief of policeman assigned to the San Remigio Police Station for forgetting to wear the prescribed police cap.

Romana confirmed receiving the warning from PRO 7.

“I fully admit my fault. In my dedication to be part of the event, I went there despite not having the uniform,” he said.

He said his uniform got wet a few days prior to the Labor Day activity during a unity run he conducted in the mountain barangays in Cebu City. He said the laundry shop was unable to return the uniform in time for the May 1 fun run.

He said that after getting the warning, he asked his staff to buy two more sets of the sports uniform. “Hindi tayo pwede maubusan ng bala (We cannot run out of ammunition),” he added.

Statistics

In another development, Romana said crime figures in five police stations have been
reviewed while those of six others are pending revalidation.

“If there’s a discrepancy of 10 to 20 crimes, that may be forgivable,” he said. “But if it’s a hundred, hindi na yan tama (that’s not right anymore),” he told reporters yesterday.

He said the partial results suggest that there is no increase in crimes in Cebu City, contrary to earlier reports.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, chairman of the PCAC, said they want to find out where the discrepancies originated, if any, and who among the police station chiefs submitted erroneous reports.

“There is a possibility na dili ingon ato kadaghan ang crime incidents pero ako silang giingnan na siguroon gyud ninyo inyong crime statistics and the crimes have to be classified (It is possible that the increase in crime incidence was not that significant but I told them they have to be certain),” Labella told reporters yesterday.

He instructed Supt. Arnel Banzon, CCPO deputy director for administration, to specify the crimes: if these were against properties or persons, index crimes or those punishable under special laws.

Report

Labella said he expects to receive the report today and he plans to submit it to the City Council for review in time for the executive session with police officials on Monday.

The CCPO reported 3,194 crimes in the first quarter of this year compared to 2,605 crimes in the same period in 2013.

Romana said he ordered a review of the records of all police stations to verify the crime figures that were released earlier.

He said the 511 cases that were left out in the crime figures belonged to Parian, Fuente, Waterfront, Mabolo and Carbon police stations. Most of these belonged to the Fuente Police Station, now Station 2, he added.

Romana hopes the revalidation would be completed by the end of the month.

He said that after the review of the data, he will order an investigation to determine who were responsible for the discrepancy. He added that those found liable may be charged with grave misconduct.

As Romana comes under fire for reported rise in crime, Labella urged the public to give him more time to improve peace and order.

“We have to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is trying his best… We cannot blame the public if that is their perception of him,” he said yesterday.

The rise in crime incidents cannot be entirely blamed on police officials, he added, since there are other contributing factors, such as the lack of police personnel and resources.

To address this, the City Government and the PNP are hiring 50 policemen to fill vacancies in CCPO.

The City will also help build three new police stations in three barangays—in Pardo, Punta Princesa and Mambaling, particularly at the South Road Properties.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 14, 2014.

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